Is a dead, stuffed cow preserved in formaldehyde and sealed in a large glass box art? Hundreds of years ago, in 1917, Marcel Duchamp, an American with no artistic skills but an aspiration to become an artist, started a trend. He bought a urinal, turned it upside down, and declared it Art. That was radical at the time when art was considered âbeautifulâ and âmade by artistsâ. âNo, everything can be art!â Duchamp said. This idea started a new art movement â conceptual art. Ideas and thoughts replaced paints and brushes. Now everyone can be an artist. The only skill they need is creativity. Some call creativity thinking âoutside the boxâ. I prefer to call it thinking âacross the boxesâ.
âReady-madesâ revolutionised art and paved the way for new artists. Damien Hirst (born 1965 ), an English artist, followed the Duchamp steps: brave, he was not shy to build on someone elseâs ideas. In the 1990s, Hirst was a leading member of the Young British Artist (YBA) movement. Employing âshock tacticsâ, the YBA artists proclaimed to âconquer the taboo and disturb hypocritical peopleâ. Ready-mades became their technique.
In 1991, after studying at Goldsmiths Art College, Hirst began work on his famous series of dead animals. He described them as âlaughing in the face of deathâ. Preserved in glass tanks filled with formaldehyde, his sharks, cows and goats became iconic symbols of modern art of the 1990s.
Like Duchampâs work, which was called âsickâ, Hirstâs dead animals were dismissed by critics as âcultural pollutionâ. But all major contemporary art museums and collectors bought Hirstâs work, reportedly making him the UKâs richest living artist; his goat with gold horns and hooves was sold for Sh1.7 billion. He had 80 solo exhibitions worldwide, a retrospective at Tate Modern, and was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize. I personally think his work beautiful, direct, and intense. He questions everything that is important in life and challenges what art is. His thinking extends my perspective.
Commission or buy Kenyan art, original or prints, for your home and office. www.ArtCollector.Agency
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